New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Can It Happen Here?

July 13, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Economy, Jan Lundberg, Politics

The Zombie Shopping Empire Maintains American Exceptionalism

by Jan Lundberg

Listening to Thunderclap Newman, a revolutionary rock band of 1969-71, it’s clear that then, as now, we didn’t know where we were going. Their number-one song in the UK, “Something In The Air,” proclaimed “the revolution’s here.” In those heady days there was far more optimism for the revolution, defined variously in Marxist terms or what came to be lumped into “New Age” consciousness. The Movement and its revolution did not succeed in changing society’s course, as The Movement soon fragmented into submovements which survive today (feminist, environmental, peace, gay rights, etc.).

The answer to the question “Why not now” (for a revolution) has to do with (a) the worsening state of the Earth, saddening and depressing many, and (b) the power of what we can call the monumental greed machine and its police state. (more…)

Grassroots Political Education

June 24, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Michelle Chen, Politics

Palestinian Youth Channel an Old Struggle Through New Media

by Michelle Chen

(Editor’s Note: This week on NCV, as part of a thematic series, we are featuring articles focusing on the Israel-Palestine conflict and attendant issues, hoping to stimulate a dialogue and suggest potential ways forward.)

On the last day of class, we’re unplugging the media revolution. The last session of my social media training program at An Najah University, in the city of Nablus in the West Bank, has been sabotaged by a campus-wide Internet outage, a scheduling mishap that left the students locked out of the computer lab, and a general lethargy afflicting summer-session students in the oppressive summer heat.

So I sit down with the four students who showed up, all primly dressed Palestinian young women, and ask them about what they’ve gleaned from the past few days of tweeting and blogging bootcamp. (more…)

Libya’s Silver Lining

March 28, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Matt Meyer, Politics

Challenges and Lessons for Western Peace Activists

by Matt Meyer

In a week of bombing and bloodshed, I have been amazed and saddened at the amount of confusion, arrogance, and paternalism from supposedly progressive people of the so-called global north. Perhaps I should not be so surprised: the US “left” is an under-developed country, and we would all do well to take some serious lessons — in democracy, nonviolence, and revolution — from our counterparts in the southern hemisphere. Perhaps the silver lining is to learn from the lessons of Libya:

On Revolution and Nonviolence

The good news, of course, is that these two concepts, so often pitted against one another as opposites — the false dichotomy of our era — have, in 2011, been rehabilitated. (more…)

The Evolution Has Come

March 08, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Politics, Randall Amster

Time to Put Down the Gun

by Randall Amster

The top of the news queue a few weeks ago almost went unnoticed in its ordinariness: “Gunman shoots 4 officers inside Detroit precinct” and “Walmart shooting leaves 2 dead, 2 deputies hurt.” It was merely just another day in America, where the “right to bear arms” is bolstered by the tortuous logic that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” We’re still awaiting word of any sightings of a “well-regulated militia” being in the mix, but thus far the exercise appears to be mostly personal — and in fact, the Supreme Court in 2008 explicitly affirmed that the Second Amendment applies to individuals.

Let’s face it: America is obsessed with firearms, both domestically and in our exports and foreign policy directives alike. Guns are available on a legal or illegal basis nearly on a par with drugs in our society, which means pretty much everyone has access to them on demand. And some of the statistics are sobering, according to a 2007 Reuters article describing the U.S. as the “most armed country”: (more…)

Toward A ‘Leaderless Revolution’ in America

February 16, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Economy, Politics, Will Wilkinson

A Growing, Yet Largely Invisible, Movement Begins to Take Hold

by Will Wilkinson

At first glance, the “leaderless revolution” in Egypt has nothing in common with the recent closing of Allyson’s, a local deli here in our small Oregon town. Until you hear why the bank called the note: “the balance and payments are due.”

Quoting from a recent article by David Porter on Egypt, “It is the slowly-accumulating momentum of hundreds of thousands of confrontations with local officials and elites … that slowly develop the courage, confidence and essential horizontal networks bubbling below the surface.”

How many Allyson’s stories are accumulating throughout America? How many business owners and employees, home owners and credit card users have had their lives turned upside down by bankers’ decisions like this one, so utterly devoid of humanity? (more…)

What Can We Do to Support Egypt?

February 07, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, John Clark, Politics

Address in Solidarity with the Popular Revolution

by John Clark

We have all been moved by the courageous actions of the Egyptian people in recent weeks. In response to their inspiring example, we might ask the following question: What effective steps can we take to support their struggle for liberation, and to support similar struggles throughout the world?

There is a very easy, and very bad, response to this question. Unfortunately, it is also the one that is most popular. This response is to express our great sympathy and admiration for their struggle, and then to go on acting as we have in the past. I propose that a more constructive response would be, first,  to become better educated about what has made their struggle necessary, and, next,  to begin to act in ways that that will make it, and similar struggles, more likely to succeed in the future. (more…)